Choosing Shaded Rest Areas:
When an air conditioned space is not available, choose or create rest areas with as many of the following beneficial characteristics as possible:
Rather than being exposed to heat for extended periods of time during the course of a job, workers should, wherever possible, be permitted to distribute the workload evenly over the day and incorporate work/rest cycles. Work/rest cycles give the body an opportunity to get rid of excess heat, slow down the production of internal body heat, slow down the heart rate, and provide greater blood flow to the skin.
For the best protection from heat-related illness, workers should spend the rest periods of the cycle in a cool place, for example in a lightly air conditioned room, trailer or vehicle, or if one is not available, then in full shade.
Rest periods do not necessarily mean that the workers are on break; these can be productive times. During the rest periods, workers may continue to perform mild or light work, such as completing paperwork, sorting small parts, attending a meeting, or receiving training (e.g., instructions for upcoming work, or a tailgate safety talk).
Have a knowledgeable person at the worksite that is well-informed about heat-related illness and able to modify work activities and the work/rest schedule as needed. When evaluating an appropriate work/rest schedule:
When possible, more frequent shorter periods of exposure to heat are better than fewer longer exposures. This means that the work/rest schedules are often based on 1-hour cycles and might call for a rest period of 15 minutes every hour during hot weather, but 45 minutes per hour when temperature and humidity are extreme. Individual requirements may vary greatly.
Setting appropriate work rest schedules is critical for protecting workers during outdoor work. Often it requires the assistance of a trained safety and health profession. In addition to the methods provided as examples below, OSHA provides free and confidential advice to services small and medium-sized businesses in all states across the country. Contact OSHA's On-site Consultation Program for assistance in developing your heat-related illness preventions plan and work/rest schedules that appropriate for your worksite. For more information or for additional compliance assistance contact OSHA at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742).
|Heat Index||Risk Level||Protective Measures|
|Less than 91°F||Lower (Caution)||Basic heat safety and planning|
|91°F to 103°F||Moderate||Implement precautions and heighten awareness|
|103°F to 115°F||High||Additional precautions to protect workers|
|Greater than 115°F||Very High to Extreme||Triggers even more aggressive protective measures|
How can OSHA help? Workers have a right to a safe workplace. If you think your job is unsafe or you have questions, contact OSHA at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742). It's confidential. We can help. If you have been punished or discriminated against for using your rights, such as raising health and safety concerns or filing a complaint, you must file a complaint with OSHA within 30 days. No form is required, but you must call or send a letter to OSHA within 30 days of the alleged discrimination. For other valuable worker protection information, such as Workers' Rights, Employer Responsibilities, and other services OSHA offers, visit OSHA's Workers' page.
OSHA also provides help to employers. OSHA's On-site Consultation Program offers free and confidential advice to small and medium-sized businesses in all states across the country, with priority given to high-hazard worksites. For more information or for additional compliance assistance contact OSHA at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742). It's confidential. We can help.
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